February 26, 2013

Mack Riley says no to grog

I watched 4 Corners last night. The program - Punch Drunk - was about the personal and economic cost of alcohol to Australia's young people, police, health and judicial services. It was a great program. I've been put in hospital before because of stupid drunken violence and am all too aware of the problem it is in our society.

Today I was flicking through the Marra grammar and rediscovered a nice little text by Mack Manguji Riley about how he doesn't like grog. Mack's little story was recorded in the 1970s and he died a long time ago (he's the brother of famous Marra artist, Ginger Riley) but I really like his little spiel in Marra about grog. I thought I'd share:
Nginarra, nomo laigim grog, gurl-alajurlu,
gana nginarra, ganagu gurl-ngajinjiyi wirrju nana nanggayarra,
ngabar-alama wul-jari,
galimba ganagu wurg-balamayi wala wul-wayarra wul-jalguyi

Mi, ai nomo laigim grog weya alabat dringgim,
en mi, ai nomo dringgim, im nogud thanja,
alabat siksikbat, bigmob,
en alabat nomo wekwekbat, det najalot, ola yangboi

As for me, I do not like grog. They drink it.
I do not drink it, that is bad.
Many people die,
and others - single men - do not work (because of grog).

Mack Riley's Marra text (above) was recorded in the mid 1970s by Jeffrey Heath who published it in "Basic Materials in Mara: grammar, texts and dictionary" in 1981. The Marra transcription and English translation are by Jeffrey Heath and I did the Kriol translation (which some of you may notice has some slightly different interpretations from what Heath' put in his English translation).